Friday, July 29, 2011
Food in the Desert
I took this picture from a boat on the Sea of Galilee. It captures well the kind of hillside where Jesus would have fed 5,000 people with only five loaves and two fish (14:13-21.)
Even though these hills are not lush, they are clearly not a "deserted place" that Matthew describes as the setting of this miracle. That phrase reminds me of the desert through which Moses led the Hebrews and in which God fed them with manna. Throughout his Gospel Matthew wants me to see Jesus as the new Moses who delivers us from slavery to sin and gives us a new Law. Matthew wants to convince his fellow Jews that, with the destruction of the Temple and the end of the priesthood, following Jesus is the best way to be true to their Jewish heritage.
By having Jesus feed such a large number of people with so little, Matthew helps me to see that nothing can limit the love and concern Jesus has for everyone. In Romans 8:39 Paul says, "I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
It was in Galilee that I felt closest to Jesus. I could imagine the awe in the crowd as they passed the bread and fish without it's running out. On one of the hillsides the group I was with celebrated Mass and passed around the Body and Blood of Christ.